Dramatica Definition: Backstory

Backstory • [Storytelling] • Although often embellished greatly in the storytelling, Backstory is nothing more than a description of how a Main Character’s justification built up over time, leading him to intersect with the story’s problem, or how a story problem developed over time, leading it to intersect with the Main Character. Backstory outlines the sequence of events and the combination of forces that make the Main Character the central connecting point between the subjective and objective problem. Backstory need not be presented to the audience as it is not essential to the story’s argument about how to or how not to solve a problem. However, inclusion of Backstory can offer the additional benefits of showing the audience how to avoid the problem before it becomes a problem. Sometimes Backstory is presented at the beginning of storytelling, making it appear to be part of the story itself into which it can smoothly and seamlessly segue. More often, Backstory is explored episodically in Flashbacks or through other forms of revelation. Sometimes the focus of the storytelling is on the Backstory itself and the story is told episodically through flashforwards. Even more complex implementations not only present Backstory episodically but also out of order, leaving it to the audience to ultimately put the pieces together and thereby solve a riddle necessary to solving the problem of the story itself.

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